Tag Archives: mobile phone

Mobile apps grab our attention, but not in the way you probably think

The common understanding of what attracts visual attention to screens doesn’t transfer to mobile applications, according to a new study, the first one to look at how users’ eyes follow mobile app elements. Larger and brighter elements just don’t catch our eyes after all, researches argued.

Shown here are the screen resolution, aspect ratio, and color distributions of a sample webpage. Red circles represent areas of foveal vision in viewing the UIs from a 60 cm distance.

As part of an international collaboration, Aalto University researchers carried out the first study to empirically test how we interact with mobile apps. Previous studies on what attracts visual attention, also known as visual saliency, had centered on desktop and web-interfaces but never on mobile phones.

“Apps appear differently on a phone than on a desktop computer or browser: they’re on a smaller screen which simply fits fewer elements and, instead of a horizontal view, mobile devices typically use a vertical layout. Until now it was unclear how these factors would affect how apps actually attract our eyes,” said co-author Antti Oulasvirta in a statement.

In their study, Oulasvirta and his colleagues used a large group of representative mobile interfaces and eye-tracking technology to see where users look at screenshots of mobile apps, both for Android and Apple iOS devices. Up to now, it was assumed that our gazes go to bigger and brighter elements and stay there longer, as is the case in other situations.

Previous studies showed that when we look at certain types of images, our attention is focused on the center of screens and spread horizontally across the screen, rather than vertically. But in their new research, the team from Aalto University found out that those principles actually have little weight on mobile interfaces.

“It actually came as a surprise that bright colours didn’t affect how people fixate on app details. One possible reason is that the mobile interface itself is full of glossy and colourful elements, so everything on the screen can potentially catch your attention – it’s just how they’re designed. It seems that when everything is made to stand out, nothing pops out in the end,” said lead author Luis Leiva.

The study also showed that some other design principles hold true for mobile apps. Gaze tends to drift to the top-left corner, for example, as an indication of exploration or scanning. Text is also important, likely because of its role in relaying information. Users tend to focus on text elements of a mobile app as parts of icons and logos first.

At the same time, the researchers found that image elements draw visual attention more frequently than expected for the area they cover. But the average length of time users spent looking at images and other app elements was similar. Faces also attracted concentrated attention but when accompanied by text, the participants’ eyes wandered closer to the location of the text.

“Various factors influence where our visual attention goes. For photos, these factors include colour, edges, texture and motion. But when it comes to generated visual content, such as graphical user interfaces, design composition is a critical factor to consider,” said Hamed Tavakoli, co-author, in a statement.

The study was published in Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services.

Molecules on your mobile phone say a lot about your lifestyle

The mobile phone is often at the core of our modern lifestyle, and that says many things about us in itself. But researchers now believe that they can learn a lot more just by analyzing its screen.

Mirror mirror on the wall, your mobile’s phone screen sees it all. Credit: Amina Bouslimani and Neha Garg

Every time we touch something, we leave behind trace molecules, indicators of the bio-chemistry of our bodies — and there are fewer objects we touch more often than our mobile phones. By analyzing the molecules on phone screens, US scientists were able to reconstruct big chunks of volunteers’ lifestyle, including diet, preferred hygiene products, health status, and locations visited. Even though volunteers were instructed to not use any healthcare products for three days, the traces were still clearly visible.

“All of these chemical traces on our bodies can transfer to objects,” senior author Pieter Dorrestein, PhD, professor in UC San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “So we realized we could probably come up with a profile of a person’s lifestyle based on chemistries we can detect on objects they frequently use.”

Among the identified substances were anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal skin creams, hair loss treatments, anti-depressants, and eye drops – so both internal and external things. There’s good reason to believe that everything you use can be traced back. Food molecules were also detected: citrus, caffeine, herbs and spices were the most prevalent. Meanwhile, insect repellants were detected even though they had been used months before. In other words, the molecules on the phones say quite a lot about the phone’s owner.

“By analyzing the molecules they’ve left behind on their phones, we could tell if a person is likely female, uses high-end cosmetics, dyes her hair, drinks coffee, prefers beer over wine, likes spicy food, is being treated for depression, wears sunscreen and bug spray — and therefore likely spends a lot of time outdoors — all kinds of things,” said first author Amina Bouslimani, PhD, an assistant project scientist in Dorrestein’s lab. “This is the kind of information that could help an investigator narrow down the search for an object’s owner.”

This is an innovative approach which could have an array of potential applications, especially in a legal framework.

“You can imagine a scenario where a crime scene investigator comes across a personal object — like a phone, pen or key — without fingerprints or DNA, or with prints or DNA not found in the database. They would have nothing to go on to determine who that belongs to,” Dorrestein added  “So we thought — what if we take advantage of left-behind skin chemistry to tell us what kind of lifestyle this person has?”

But the team emphasizes that there are other applications as well: medicine, environmental studies, airport screening, or adherence monitoring. For instance, a physician could check if a patient is sticking to the prescription, or exposure to hazardous substances could be studied by analyzing skin metabolites.

Moving forward, they are already working on an even bigger trial, focusing on other objects we often touch during the day, such as wallets and keys.

Journal Reference: Pieter C. Dorrestein et al. Lifestyle chemistries from phones for individual profiling. PNAS, November 2016 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1610019113

Communication Era: How Mobile Phone Took Over?

converged-devicesWith mobile phones, you can easily contact anyone even if it is an overseas or local call. When you cannot contact a person because he or she forgot to bring his or her phone, you can send him or her text messages. Aside from communication, the mobile phone also has features that help you during the day such as an alarm clock, calculator, music player, and even an Internet browser.

The mobile phone has made its breakthrough in today’s society because of the advantages that are being enjoyed by a lot of people. Most of us know how to use his or her mobile phone, and the features that came along with it.

Addressing Students’ Needs

Being a student is not easy especially in dealing with paper works for many coming years. To make a student’s life easy, the mobile phone offers a lot of features. First, it is easy to communicate with classmates, teachers and family. Second, you can use applications for easy studying such as a calculator for math subjects. It also has applications that help you with words such as dictionaries and notebooks apps. Third, just like the computer, a mobile phone can easily access the Internet using a mobile Internet browser such as Opera Mini. This is convenient for students when they need to search for information about a certain subject. Fourth, mobile phones are also a good option for storing files when a student does not have a USB flash drive. It has a memory card or Bluetooth device that students can use to share files or documents that are useful for their subjects.

Business Executives

Being a businessman is a serious job. You have to face business partners and clients who are always on the go. Aside from that, you will be busy travelling and transacting business matters. With a mobile phone, mobile communication is now possible. There are lots of mobile phones that are available for voice or video calling.

With the modern advancement, it is possible for you to conduct business anywhere since the integration of business phone systems and Internet-capable mobile is now made possible by most VoIP phone providers. You can manage calls through your own phone, business or non-business related. You can conveniently bring work everywhere you go.

Journalist or news reporter

As a media personnel, you must always be updated of the latest news around the world about health, sports, business, politics, etc. You need to write or report about it immediately before others can. With a mobile phone, you get news quickly from friends or people who are your direct source of information. It is also a need for you to be contacted by the news office. So if you have a story, you can either call or text it to your network’s news room and they will edit it for you. In addition, you can take snapshots of scenes using your mobile camera to cover your story such as a murder case, calamity, or any tragic event.

Communication is a great part of our lives.  Who would not want to express his or her idea, thoughts, feelings and opinions to someone especially when it is important? If we try to go back to the way we used to communicate, people used telegrams, snail mails (although it is still being used today), and messengers.  Although these communication tools were effective, it still took so long for a person to receive a message.  However, communication changed because of technology.

Mobile phones have made communication possible, whatever a person does and wherever he or she goes. The communication era has certainly taken its place in the modern society.

What to Expect From the New Blackberry Phones

The hype about the Blackberry 10 models became stronger when Research in Motion (RIM) sent out the invites for their January 30 launch at the Big Apple. While the event will surely be star-studded, the true stars of the show will be the “comeback” models of the brand that took the world by storm a few years back. Aside from the invites, the company also commenced the testing of the new phones mid-December of last year. One hundred twenty companies are taking part in the trials, with more than half belonging to the Fortune 500 group. Only a handful has talked about the testing publicly; however, all the companies are surely looking forward to what the new units have to offer.


What exactly do the Blackberry 10 models offer? And will these new features be enough to bring the brand back to the big boys’ game that is being dominated by tech giants Samsung and Apple? Below are three of the most sensationalized features to date.


Touch screen models


This is the feature that I am not sure if most people are ready for – the touch screen. Sure, the brand had already released touch screen models before, but only now does it offer phones that are fully operated by touch. Over the years, Blackberry has gained a reputation (and market) for its sophisticated QWERTY design. In fact, many would attest to the idea that the QWERTY keypad gives the Blackberry its “professional” look. And despite other brands replicating what Blackberry has started, only RIM was able to pull off the elegant feature. Now we have to watch out for two things: First, if the new design will exhibit the same cleverness as the QWERTY; and second, if the touch screen model will be a notch above the competition that seemed to have mastered touch screens for quite some time now.


New Software Developers Kit (SDK)


Shortly before the trials began, RIM announced the completion of the SDK exclusively for Blackberry 10 models. Of course, changes in the hardware will not be as exciting if the software is outdated. Good thing RIM did something about this and introduced a new operating system. Consumers expect the system to be faster and more effective. New applications are also expected to be offered through the revamped platform. This will surely be a breath of fresh air especially for business owners who use their Blackberry for accessing their e-mail through the Blackberry Internet Service. Aside from that, they also use applications like Word to Go which allows editing of documents using the phone, and can easily integrate with third-party services like the RingCentral business phone package that gives access to calls and messages sent and received through a business phone number.


Video Calls for BBM


The Blackberry Messenger Application is, and will always be, the crowning glory of Blackberry phones.  Now, leaked photos posted by Crackberry last December 26 shows that the BBM could just have gotten better. The photo shows a video conference, with the BBM application running alongside it. RIM neither denied nor confirmed the rumor, and just told spectators to wait until the January 30 launch.


The Blackberry 10 may just be RIM’s Final Fantasy as it can make or break their niche in the mobile market. With half of new features still rumors, no one knows what exactly to expect from the new models. But with the hints I’ve given you above, would you be waiting in line come February?

Tech Trends

Tech Trends That Will Rule Next

Tech Trends

Technology is an ever-evolving thing. Change will always be its undying mantra and consumers of every demography will always be subject to the temporality of it all. Business owners, employees and the leisure class will always be affected by its fickle ways. Usefulness will always be confronted by the demands of consumer wants and needs. Brands will always play their relevance trump cards either as fashionable items or productivity boosting tools. Anyway we look at it, technology change will always impact our lives, whether we like it or not. Whether we need change or not will often be immaterial.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Unless some smart aleck succeeds in inventing something to replace this cliché, we will always be captive subscribers to this adage. Technology brings about change and change brings about new technology. It is a vicious cycle of usefulness and programmed obsolescence. Tech trends will be formed and they will rule next until the time comes. So let’s all go forward some time into the near future and take a peek at what’s most likely to happen:

  • Mobile devices will replace desktop devices in offices. Mobile and workstation employees will be leaving their laptops in the office and will be going about business they need to do outdoors using tablets. Employees will be more mobile device-prone. As business phone VoIP system technologies like RingCentral advance further, it will develop into something that will address functionality that prioritizes mobile device performance over desktop device performance. All employees will be smartphone and tablet users. Soon enough, all of them will just be tablet users because tech design will head in the direction of turning tablets into smartphones. This technology already exists.
  • IT infra will veer towards surveillance. Employee-owned mobile devices will be interacting with company online systems more and will necessitate IT infrastructure protection policies and company info integrity maintenance and security measures. It will come to a point that all accidentally or illegally accessed/shared company info will be cause for sanctions against employees. To prevent this, companies will enact measures that not only protect systems from such but also bar and prevent such via spyware technology that presently exists. The only reason why companies do not usually practice such measures is because there are more legal impediments than there are compelling reasons to make it compulsory.
  • Mobile app development will accelerate. Mobile app use will increase further until such time that developers will be forced to come up with apps that can create other apps faster and with less technical savvy. There are currently hundreds and hundreds of apps available online for every imaginable use by workers and leisure users. Most of these are downloadable for free while there are some you can buy at premium prices for business use. As serious tech savvy begins to be taken off the equation, we see mobile users becoming more efficient, smarter and even more productive.
  • Information apps will take over data and info search. Information access and data search will be made easier for next generation users accessing the internet for the first time via mobile device info apps. This narrows down search activities to sites presenting specific and relevant information to users. Open web browsers present general info that takes time to examine and will not likely appeal to the next generation of mobile device users with a lot shorter attention spans.
  • Social media will become primary provider of professional content. Websites and blogs will be migrating professional content to social media sites and will be optimized to adapt to the kind of interactivity in that tech platform. Social media users becoming a formidable consumer bloc will be acknowledged by companies and retailers. It will be viewed as a market group sharing the same consumer sensibilities, buying habits, and the same penchant for mobile device shopping app use. Mobile retail will increase further owing to this.


Facebook feature phone

Facebook for Every Phone aims to expand Facebook reach to the entire world

The leading social network in the world has unveiled yesterday Facebook for Every Phone, a mobile app designed to offer easy access to Facebook users in every corner of the globe and 2500 different handheld devices. This means moving Facebook to users in the developing world, as well, that do not have access to smartphones or computers.

Facebook feature phonePart of their efforts, Facebook is teaming with 20 international carriers to offer free data access for up to 90 days, in a beneficial move to both parties. Currently, Facebook has only 1.89 million daily active users (DAU) accessing from non-smartphones – a tiny amount when compared with the staggering 750 million daily active users it gets in total.

Facebook was working with Israeli feature phone application maker Snaptu for its feature phone efforts before acquiring the company for a reported $70 million in March.

In a important market capitalization move, Facebook is apparently going where ever the people are. By the end of this year, it’s said that over 6 billion cellular connections will be numbered in the world, an a significant proportion of these will be featured phones.

The app will be available through m.facebook.com or by going to d.facebook.com/install directly from a feature phone mobile browser. It will also be available in app stores including Getjar, Appia and Mobile Weaver.

Google wants a mobile phone credit card

Google is spreading and expanding in pretty much every field it can, and as fast as it can – which is not bad at all, if you ask me. In the latest move they’re planning, they teamed up with MasterCard and Citigroup and plan to allow users of Android phones pay for purchases using ‘near-field communications’ (NFC).

It seems mobile phones and credit cards are being brought closer and closer, a fact confirmed by Orange’s UK plans to use Barclaycard’s technology for mobile phone ‘contactless’ payment and Apple rumours about a similar technology. Of course, after this kind of news, you can definitely expect Google to react – and fast.

This will probably also get us one step closer to ‘El Dorado’ of phone advertising, a way of making mobile phones receive highly targetted offers, discounts, and advertisements. A shopping history combined with location data will go a long way to tailoring this kind of ads, which would be extremely profitable, as well as useful for the user.

But, even in itself, the possibility of paying via phone is absolutely remarkable, and when Mastercard, Google and Citigroup team up together, you know there’s no room for failure.